President Trump has put Iran “on notice” for its recent ballistic missile tests, which were forbidden by its accord with the previous administration. An article in the Washington Post shows how Iran has grown into a major military power, forming alliances throughout the Middle East and becoming one of the few nations capable of projecting military force beyond its borders.
The analysis shows–without, of course, saying so–just how weak President Obama’s policies towards Iran were, enabling its economic and military revival so that it’s now a major threat in the Middle East. Trump has re-imposed some sanctions and sent the destroyer U.S.S Cole to waters where Iran has been throwing its weight around. It’s not clear what else he has in mind, should Iran continue its aggressive stance.
The Sunni Arab countries, such as Saudi Arabia, are delighted with Trump’s tough talk on Iran. According to the article, the prospect of the United States standing up against their Shi’ite rival more than makes up for Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric.
But the president will have to deal with a couple of complicating factors: The Shi’ite Iranians, with their proxy militias, are fighting the Sunni ISIS, arguably a much greater enemy of the United States. And Iran is closely allied with Russia. If Trump wants to improve relations with Vladimir Putin, that would conflict with his desire to get tough with Iran.
Read the article, excerpted and linked after the jump. [Read more…]